With more than 3,200 specially trained employees and hundreds of trucks that can be used to remove snow and ice, the N.C. Department of Transportation works diligently to prepare for winter weather and the hazards that come with it.
Maintenance crews begin preparing for winter storms as early as fall by cleaning, repairing and testing equipment, reviewing snow removal routes, and stocking up on necessary supplies such as salt and sand.
NCDOT can store up to 170,000 tons of salt and sand and 1.52 million gallons of brine at its storage facilities.
The department also owns and maintains a wide array of equipment to handle North Carolina winters. As of 2019, this includes:
- 2,250 dump trucks fitted with plows and salt/sand spreaders (attached when snow or ice is in the forecast)
- 503 front-end loaders and backhoes
- 324 motor graders
Pickup trucks are outfitted with snowplows to clear less-traveled roads when conditions merit. In addition, NCDOT contracts with local companies to use trucks and employees to supplement crews and equipment as needed.
NCDOT budgeted $42.5 million for storm preparation and snow and ice removal. If the budgeted amount is exceeded additional funds can be taken from emergency reserves so NCDOT does not scale back its response or have fewer crews out clearing the roads. Crews work as quickly and efficiently as possible whether it's the first storm of the winter weather season or the last.